Open-mindedness: Only right when you’re wrong

Consider the cannibal. He thinks he’s a pretty good warrior, capturing dozens of enemy prisoners. He even thinks he’s a pretty good father, providing food for his family. Then one day, someone shows up, maybe from England or something, and tells him that eating other people isn’t a good idea.

So, is our cannibal going to be open-minded or closed-minded?

If he’s open-minded, that’s a good thing: no more capturing, no more eating, no more cannibalizing. Hooray! If he’s closed-minded, that’s bad. Maybe he’ll eat the Englishman. Boo!

Yep, open-minded is sounding pretty good, in this case. But what if the situation turned the other way?

What if the Englishman was open-minded? What if the cannibal told him that eating people is a good practice: “Feed your family and your ego at the same time”? What if the Englishman believed the cannibal, and then ate him?

Suddenly, open-mindedness doesn’t sound so good. It’s preposterous, the whole thing. I’m like, “Hey, Englishman, don’t be an idiot. Stick to your convictions. Don’t give in to peer pressure. Open-mindedness is only right when you’re wrong.”